We are exactly one week away from Super Bowl 58, a series of games so big that they are designated by Roman numerals. This will be the first Super Bowl ever in Las Vegas, and back in the 1960s, when this franchise begam the idea of playing the big game in Sin City was unfathomable. So what could be the next ground-breaking, revolutionary location idea? How about Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in London?
According to Sports Illustrated (RIP by the way), the National Football League put $13.3 million toward THS’ approximate £350-£400 ($600) million construction costs.
The venue is more than the NFL’s home in London; it’s a major investment made by the league.
As we’ve seen, “the shield” is extremely determined to get their product in more markets other than the domestic one. It already owns a day of the week, September-February, here in America.
London has been the main location in which Goodell’s league has pushed this objective, and it’s clear they are only going to escalate this initiative.
London would go for it too.
My ambition is to have more American football games in London and ultimately for there to be a franchise and, dare I say it, even the Super Bowl,” London Mayor Sadiq Khan said in a 2018 interview, just before the venue opened.
“Obviously once Spurs open up their stadium that will give us the potential to have more games there but I’m ambitious – the idea is to have eight games in London eventually, which is the number a franchise team plays and then who knows, maybe one day the Super Bowl,” Khan said.
While the idea of a London Super Bowl faces long odds, having an elite, first class venue like Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in place means you can’t rule it out.
It’s one of the more advanced and multi-purpose functionality stadiums in the entire world, with a retractable grass field for football (soccer) with an artificial surface underneath specifically for American football.
This is ingrained, given Tottenham Hotspur Football Club’s partnership with the NFL and their commitment to hosting the NFL’s International Series.
While Tottenham Hotspur Stadium meets the technical requirements and conveys the NFL’s growing interest in the United Kingdom, there are major obstacles to hosting a Super Bowl outside the United States.
The NFL would have to weigh many deciding factors and make major adjustments in order to get this idea off the ground.
Time Zone Difference
Hosting in London would require moving off the traditional Super Bowl kickoff time of 6:30pm EST. However, given how London is five hours ahead of eastern standard time, you could easily do it at 1pm or 4:15pm EST, the traditional Sunday kickoff times that U.S. audiences are used to.
Remember, Greenwich Mean Time is the central time zone of the world.
Going across the Atlantic Ocean, and adjusting to the jet lag (especially for those in the Pacific time zone) would pose logistical challenges for teams, media, and the tens of thousands of fans who travel to the Super Bowl each year.
If any one thing kills this idea, it’s this.
An American Holiday
The Super Bowl is the cornerstone of American sports, marketing, entertainment and advertising culture. In our cowboy capitalism, capitalism-without-constraints cultural ethos, the Super Bowl embodies all of that. Not sure how this corporate culture atmosphere would play abroad.
The Super Bowl has exclusively be staged in the United States, due to logistical, commercial, and cultural reasons. The NFL has specific requirements for Super Bowl cities (New Orleans in the nation’s best regard hotel capacity, according to their standards, that’s why they have hosted so many editions of the big game) and their infrastructure to handle the influx of visitors and media.
While it’s a fascinating idea, much like the prospect of a Super Bowl being hosted in Las Vegas would have been in 1967, the reality of this remains unlikely.
It is worth noting however that if any venue outside the U.S. could host a Super Bowl, in the near future, it would only be Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.
Paul M. Banks is the owner/manager of The Sports Bank. He’s also the author of “Transatlantic Passage: How the English Premier League Redefined Soccer in America,” and “No, I Can’t Get You Free Tickets: Lessons Learned From a Life in the Sports Media Industry.”
He’s written for numerous publications, including the New York Daily News, Sports Illustrated and the Chicago Tribune. He regularly appears on NTD News and WGN News Now, while writing for the International Baseball Writers Association of America. You can follow the website on Twitter.